Thoughts would be appreciated on the following examples of what seem to be contradictions in what the Scripture teaches…
1. Can God be seen? The Bible claims that "No man hath seen God at any time," (Jn. 1:18). Yet in Exodus God says: "And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen." (Ex. 33:22-23) So can part of God be seen then, as this verse seems to indicate? Or perhaps it is only the face that cannot be seen, as God said: "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live" (Ex. 33:20). Yet the same chapter in Exodus says: "And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend." (Ex. 33:11) Of course you could say that Christians have seen God--in Jesus Christ, but that doesn’t really resolve the problem in the verses mentioned (unless you are going to claim that Moses saw Jesus Christ in Exodus).
Exodus clearly states God's face (cf. essence) cannot be seen, AND that His "back" or "glory" (cf. energies) can be seen. Face and back here are best understood as metaphors.
Cf. Orthodox Wiki on Gregory Palamas:
"Contrary to Barlaam, Gregory [Palamas] asserted that the prophets in fact had greater knowledge of God, because they had actually seen or heard God himself. Addressing the question of how it is possible for humans to have knowledge of a transcendent and unknowable God, he drew a distinction between knowing God in his essence (in Greek, ουσία) and knowing God in his energies (in Greek, ενέργειαι). He maintained the Orthodox doctrine that it remains impossible to know God in his essence (God in himself), but possible to know God in his energies (to know what God does, and who he is in relation to the creation and to man), as God reveals himself to humanity. In doing so, he made reference to the Cappadocian Fathers and other early Christian writers.
Gregory further asserted that when the Apostles Peter, James and John witnessed the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ on Mount Tabor, that they were in fact seeing the uncreated light of God; and that it is possible for others to be granted to see that same uncreated light of God with the help of repentance, spiritual discipline and contemplative prayer, although not in any automatic or mechanistic fashion.
He continually stressed the Biblical vision of the human person as a united whole, both body and soul. Thus, he argued that the physical side of hesychastic prayer was an integral part of the contemplative monastic way, and that the claim by some of the monks of seeing the uncreated light was indeed legitimate. Like St. Simeon the New Theologian, he also laid great stress in his spiritual teaching on the vision of the divine light."
2. Does God Change his mind? The Bible speaks of God as being unchanging (Num. 23:19; Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8; etc.), and traditional Christian theology says that God doesn’t change his mind (after all, why would an omniscient God need to change his mind?) However, there are other passages in the Bible which seem to indicate that God does change his mind, such as:
“And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.” - Jon. 3:10
“And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.” - Gen. 6:6-7
“And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people.” - Ex. 32:14
Some Christians say that this is merely anthropomorphic language, not to be taken in a woodenly literal way. Let‘s say that‘s accepted for the moment: what then is the point that the authors are trying to get across with such language? If God cannot actually change his mind or make a mistake, then what message are such passages trying to convey?
Exodus 32:14 "So the LORD changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people."
Jeremiah 26:19 "Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him to death? Did he not fear the LORD and entreat the favor of the LORD, and the LORD changed His mind about the misfortune which He had pronounced against them? But we are committing a great evil against ourselves."
Amos 7:1-3 "Thus the Lord God showed me, and behold, He was forming a locust-swarm when the spring crop began to sprout. And behold, the spring crop was after the king's mowing. And it came about, when it had finished eating the vegetation of the land, that I said, "Lord God, please pardon! How can Jacob stand, For he is small? The LORD changed His mind about this. "It shall not be," said the LORD (cf. vs 6).
Exodus 4:24-26 "Now it came about at the lodging place on the way that the LORD met him and sought to put him to death. Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son's foreskin and threw it at Moses' feet, and she said, "You are indeed a bridegroom of blood to me." So He let him alone. At that time she said, "You are a bridegroom of blood "-- because of the circumcision.
Note that the blessing of obedience/prayer/intercession and cursing of disobedience according to covenant do not change in any of the above examples. In this sense God did not change his mind in any of the above instances, though he is said to in anthropomorphic/phenomenological terms. He did what he stated he would do from the beginning; what that is in particular varies in accordance with what men do (cf. Deut 28 excerpt below).
If I am walking against a strong wind, and turn around, I may say "the wind was against me but is now with me." But the wind didn't really change; it was I who changed direction in relation to the wind.
Deuteronomy 28:13-20 13 "And the LORD shall make you the head and not the tail, and you only shall be above, and you shall not be underneath, if you will listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, which I charge you today, to observe them carefully, 14 and do not turn aside from any of the words which I command you today, to the right or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them. 15 "But it shall come about, if you will not obey the LORD your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses shall come upon you and overtake you. 16 "Cursed shall you be in the city, and cursed shall you be in the country. 17 "Cursed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. 18 "Cursed shall be the offspring of your body and the produce of your ground, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock. 19 "Cursed shall you be when you come in, and cursed shall you be when you go out. 20 "The LORD will send upon you curses, confusion, and rebuke, in all you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and until you perish quickly, on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken Me.